Securely Linking the World’s Health Data in One Cloud-built Data Warehouse

The following is an interview with Todd Crosslin from Snowflake.

If you want to learn more about Cloud Analytics in healthcare, sign up for this FREE webinar on Secure Data Sharing for Modern Healthcare Analytics presented by Microsoft and Snowflake.

What do you think the biggest health information technology (HIT) trend will be in 2019?
The shift to public cloud will accelerate and everyone will need to fully embrace longitudinal data sets, not only within but also between their organizations and those of their clients and partners to meet the needed outcomes and performance-based payment models. Legacy reporting mechanisms will be hard-pressed to keep up with the demands of these new models.

What do you think the biggest HIT challenges in 2019 will be?
I think healthcare has both organizational and technological challenges. We learned from a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytics Services that the most significant organizational barriers to achieving a data-driven healthcare evolution include organizational silos, legacy processes, lack of key digital and analytics skills, and resistance to change. Gartner and other analyst firms study and document unsuccessful implementations and how they diminish the business value of data and analytics. The high expense of on-premises solutions challenges HIT organizations. With the cloud pay-as-you go model, organizations can now take advantage of an iterative approach. The  important question is, will HIT leaders have the courage to take that leap?

What can we expect concerning interoperability in 2019?
Health Level Seven (HL7), Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), and Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies (SMART) on FHIR will continue to evolve and gain momentum as organizations embrace new technologies. Snowflake brings modern data sharing to the toolbox, which replaces data “moving” with shares by query.

What can organizations do to improve data security in 2019?
With regard to healthcare data, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, and other regulatory safeguards, deploying a solution based on a modern architecture is essential. Snowflake addresses security concerns with Tri-Secret Secure (three-key) encryption and fine-grained data access controls for securely and performantly storing customer data. Data loaded into Snowflake is automatically split into small encrypted micro-partitions, and the metadata is extracted to enable efficient query processing. Snowflake encrypts these micro-partitions, stores them in a columnar format, and compresses them. In short, Snowflake’s security is built in, so our customers can focus on the bigger picture. This is the type of approach to security that every healthcare organization is going to have to take to keep the data secure.

What type of innovative products/services will Snowflake be offering in 2019?
Healthcare organizations are limited by the amount of healthcare data they can effectively join and link together. It’s unfeasible and sometimes impossible to transport substantial amounts of data while maintaining tight security and fully protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI). Through its Snowflake Data Sharing feature, Snowflake provides a modern capability where data can be shared, linked, joined, and accessed without moving, exporting, or even copying any data. Organizations can easily establish data connections between a data provider (the data owner) and a data consumer (internal or external data users) to governed, secure, and readonly data in real time. Snowflake is available on both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Currently, data sharing is available within one cloud provider and one region. Throughout 2019, Snowflake will be expanding Snowflake Data Sharing to allow sharing between multiple regions of the same cloud provider. Eventually, availability across multiple cloud providers and regions will play a pivotal role in creating a truly global Data Economy.

About Todd Crosslin
Todd is Vice President of Healthcare Strategy at Snowflake. From provider roles in pharmacy and hospital environments to leading and/serving software development teams. Todd has over 30 years of experience in healthcare. As a former Snowflake customer, Todd has firsthand knowledge of the benefits of Snowflake’s cloud-native architecture in a healthcare environment. Securely storing billions of records and democratizing data across organizations helps bring analytics to the touchpoint of patient care with no upfront capital purchase. The added benefits of scalability on demand, a 10-to-100x performance increase, and no required database maintenance are resonating across
the healthcare industry.